The Lac La Biche Minor Hockey Association has released its latest tentative plan to re-launch a formal hockey season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new plan — which origanizers admit still has room for revisions and details — has been in the works for several weeks as local hockey association members work with other regional hockey associations, regional and provincial health authorities and national guidelines relating to COVID-19 pandemic protocols.
The plan — available for full viewing HERE — has a tentative timeframe of four areas; Off-season skill development that ran from June to August 31; a development season running from August 1 to a determined future date; a "modified" competition schedule that has yet to have an official start date, but will happen no earlier than November 1; a regular season, which again has no specific date set.
Player numbers will affect options
Admitting the timeframes are vague in some places, local association officials say the phases of re-launch alllow the association and local leagues the flexibility to transition as things evolve.
The local minor hockey executive members have put together two plans going forward. The option that goes ahead will be determined by the number of registrations the association receives this year. The first option would see one team per division — which is what the current registration numbers are indicating — with no evaluations. Divisions would be paired with one other cohort group — putting together U7 and U9 teams, U11 and U13 players and U15 and U18 teams for the duration of the development season, which is slated to begin September 14.
The second option would see two teams per division, which has been the norm throughout the league prior to the COVID pandemic. Modified conditioning and evaluation skates for team selection would begin on September 14, with the two teams in each division making up a cohort.
September 12 deadline for hockey registration
Minor hockey offiicials say registration this year is down due to the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic ‚ but association members say all protocols are being followed, including limited team sizes and strict adherence to Alberta Health Services coronavirus guidelines. Registration for this hockey season will close when team sizes are reached or September 12.
More details about Hockey Alberta re-launch strategies can be found at their website. Registration for the upcoming Lac La Biche Minor Hockey Association season can be found at their website.